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Fall Outlook: Presidential Race and Congressional Issues

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The “summer of Trump” has come to a close, so now we will see whether or not “the Donald” can continue his dominance of the GOP presidential field into the fall. He continues to poll well with a commanding lead over everyone else, but there are more debates coming and he has shown some difficulty in responding to questions of policy, especially on foreign affairs issues. Style-over-substance only carries a candidate so far before he or she must show some ability to tackle the issues. Look what happened to 2012 front-runner Rick Perry when he couldn’t remember the name of one federal agency. I suspect the mortar fire will increase on Donald Trump during the next debate as the other candidates all recognize they have to bring him down to have any chance of winning. Also watch the performance of Carly Fiorina who was the winner of the first “happy hour” debate. Now that CNN has refined its selected process for the debates, Carly Fiorina gets to participate in the prime time contest.

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More Affordable Housing

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Housing providers have always been better Aadvocates for tenants than the so called tenants rights groups. Sound counterintuitive? Not really if you think it through.

The majority of housing providers rely on rental income to fund their retirements. You wouldn’t want to be at war with the individuals who fund your way of paying your bills, would you? Is it in the best interest of tenants’ rights groups for housing providers and tenants to be at war with each other? Very possibly.

If housing providers—yes, all you retirees know who you are—are made out to be bad guys, that ignites the kind of “good guy vs. bad guy” emotion that leads to successful fund raising. Is beating the “bad guys” their only issue? Fortunately no. Tenant advocates are trying as hard as housing providers to stimulate the construction of more affordable housing. Maybe their problem is a marketing problem.

Building more housing isn’t as emotional an issue as beating down the “bad landlord.” Take away that emotional appeal and you lose donations and maybe your job. If their real value, which is to advocate for the construction of more housing, isn’t emotional enough to sustain their fund raising, then maybe it’s time to redefine their mission. Is there anything to be proud of in finding below market housing for a needy tenant by defunding the retirement income of a housing provider who spent a lifetime fixing leaky plumbing and repairing old roofs in order to have money to live on down the road? Not if you’re being honest with yourself.

Housing providers, for better or for worse, do have a sort of marital bond with tenants. One partner’s job is to make a good home for the other to live in. The other’s job is to treat their home with respect and pay the rent. It’s a fair exchange. When things are going well, it’s an easy relationship. When things aren’t going so well, that’s when the strength of the relationship begins to show.

The problems are usually financial. The housing provider may fall on hard times and not keep the property in the shape they normally would. For the tenant who finds themselves in a financial jam, one of their first pleas for help is to their housing provider. Most of the time, the problem on both sides gets resolved, but a major reason for this is their reasonable business relationship. Take that away with adversarial rules like REAP and Rent Control, and that bond is forever broken.

Let’s not let that happen! It’s in tenants’ and housing providers’ best interests to maintain a fair relationship. Tenants’ rights organizations won’t like it. They can’t profit by it. When you understand that, it makes all the sense in the world for housing providers and tenants to stick together.

March 2017

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Top of the morning to you all. It is hard to believe that we are already into our third month of 2017. By now we have learned about the legislation we will be facing this year. We also learned about the decision by the City of Santa Monica to uphold the anti-discrimination ordinance that was passed in May of 2015. This ordinance prohibits landlords from refusing to accept housing vouchers. As this plays out in the media, we can expect tenant groups to firmly latch onto the idea that they can place undue pressure on our members to accept these vouchers.

The reality is that we have many members who already accept housing vouchers, and we are working with our partners to also house veterans, mentally ill, homeless and low income. Similar ordinances already exist in Northern California: Marin County, San Francisco, Corte Madera, East Palo Alto and Woodland. This decision will have farreaching effects and if you have not been attending our Special Committee for Long Beach Legislation meetings, I highly encourage you to begin. Look at our weekly e-newsletter, The Beacon, for dates on the next meeting. We NEED your voice.

Which brings me to another topic—one about the landlord/tenant relationship. AACSC is looking for positive relationships and those who would be willing to come to the Association and talk about it.

If we leave it in the hands of our detractors, one would think that there are no positive interactions with tenants, and this is simply not true. So let’s begin to show the other side of the equation and share the upside of ownership. Call Jeannie in our office to let her know you are interested and would be willing to tell your story—we are sure there are plenty of you out there.

Another positive move is the unveiling of our NEW AACSC logo. You will be seeing the old and the new together, but we want to assure you that the only thing that will change is the addition of new events and new education classes. Our number one concern is customer service, and we know from time to time we make mistakes, but your membership and our attention to the value of your membership is our first priority.

By now you have had your 2017 Vendor Referral Sourcebook delivered, and we want you to take notice of the change that has been incorporated into this book. If you look at the bottom of the page you will notice a note that says: “Company names in blue are AACSC members.” We love our vendors and advertisers, but our emphasis are those who are members of our Association AND who are supporting our industry. We encourage you to use our members first and to let any vendor who is soliciting your business know that you prefer to use members of the Apartment Association, California Southern Cities. We also invite you to send us any testimonials you have when you use one of our members; they always appreciate the feedback and we love to share it with them, too.

In closing, have a leprechaun kind of day and I hope you find a pot of gold at the end of the month. Besafe, stay informed and get involved—it’s only YOUR investment we are protecting.

Non-Payment of Rent

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At press time, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hear and approve AB 2819 (Chiu) which amends California’s unlawful detainer (UD) “masking” law (Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161.2). Current law requires UD proceedings to be masked—barred from public view—for 60 days from the time of filing, after which the record is made public unless the tenant prevails in the action or successfully settles with the property owner. Assembly Member Chiu’s bill requires UD proceedings to remain masked or “hidden” indefinitely unless the rental property owner prevails on a default judgment, summary judgment, trial or stipulation by all of the parties. The bill also imposes an additional 60-day “masking” period measured if a default or default judgment is set aside.

The problem with the bill is that tenants can default on rent, force landlords to file a UD action, then skip town without any repercussions. Unless a landlord pays more money to go back to court to get a default judgment, no record of the default will ever be made public. And, no other type of financial default is treated this way. We argue that tenant default is a matter of public record and concern; failure to make the records public harms the rental housing and the mortgage lending industries, and is contrary to public policy. Among our reasons to oppose Assembly Member Chiu’s bill:

Requiring landlords to go back to court to get a default judgment will needlessly burden an overworked and underfunded court system. In 2013, the Assembly Judiciary Committee released an in-depth paper entitled “The Access to Justice Crisis Facing California Families.” In it the Committee re ported on the state of our impacted and underfunded court system.

Closed court rooms, reduced clerk hours and self-help pro grams, elimination of civil court reporters, and increases in the number of parties coming to court have contributed to incredibly long delays in getting matters in court heard and re solved. This bill will un nec essarily add to the problems our courts face. Forcing landlords to go back to court to get default judgments will wastefully tie up courts and resources, for reasons that are contrary to our public records and transparency policies.

Non-payment of rent is a matter of public record and concern. Like any mortgage default, credit default, bankruptcy, and other debt obligations, non-payment of rent is a matter of public record and concern. When California’s masking law first went into effect in 1991, this Legislature stated specifically that:

“It is the policy of the State of California to promote open access to public records. It is in the interest of the public to assure, to the greatest extent possible, that there is open public access to court records, including civil case files.” (See, SB 892, statutes of 1991, Legislative Counsel Digest.)

Public access to court records in UD cases not only serves to encourage people to pay their rent on time, property owners have the right to know whether a prospective tenant is a serial rent defaulter or vexatious litigant.

Legislation like this bill, that serves to keep important information from public view, is contrary to California’s open records and public access policies, and unfairly keeps rental property owners in the dark and from knowing the truth about prospective tenants.

AB 2819 unfairly places the cost, burden and responsibility for ensuring that tenant defaults are made public on the backs of rental property owners. Property owners are already burdened by the fact that they have not received several months of rent, they will likely never receive the lost rent, and they have to pay for attorney and court costs to bring an eviction action. Once they finally get possession, they will not have any incentive to pay their attorney to go back to court to get a default judgment. And they shouldn’t be required to do so. Legislation should instead focus on making it easier for tenants to correct their records if any mistakes occur.

AB 2819 will unfairly keep a majority of all UD actions hidden from public view. Most property owners who get possession of their properties before a UD proceeding concludes do not go back to court for a judgment. There is no incentive to do so. They’ve already lost months of rent, and they’ve paid court and attorney fees to file the UD action. The last thing they should be required to do is pay more court and attorney fees to get a judgment. Because judgments will not be sought, thousands upon thousands of rent default records will remain hidden from public view.

Requiring property owners to prevail in order to unmask a UD proceeding only serves to promote more delays and frivolous claims. UDs are supposed to be expeditious civil proceedings, and one of the few policies that encourages quick resolution is the masking law. Because proceedings become unmasked at the 60-day mark, parties are encouraged to settle or complete the trial within that period. This bill removes the incentive to settle quickly, while encouraging the practice of lodging baseless and meritless claims to further delay proceedings.

Like mortgage defaults, credit defaults, bankruptcies, and other debt obligations, non-payment of rent is a civil matter of public record and concern. Whether it’s a mortgage, credit, loan, or other extension of goods or property based on trust, credit and default histories are paramount to any decision to lend, loan or provide. That is why nonpayment defaults are always made public immediately upon a default filing without the need for a legal judgment. Non-payment of rent should be treated no different. Tenant defaults are a matter of public concern and relied upon by all other rental property owners in the state. Eviction records must be made public to ensure rental property owners are fully apprised of a tenant’s rental history. Count on the Association reaching out to you tocontact your Senator urging him/her to vote NO.

Ron may be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Free Federal and State Compliant Labor Law Posters to AACSC Members

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Free Federal and State Compliant Labor Law Posters to AACSC Members

Some of the statutes and regulations enforced by agencies within the Department of Labor require that posters or notices be posted in the workplace. Failure to post required state and federal employment law notices can result in fines up to $17,000.  As regulations change often (in California minimum wage goes to $10.00 per hour effective January 1, 2016) it is good practice to update your posters annually.  This requirement affects every employer, regardless of size.

AACSC is making Federal and State compliant labor law posters available free of charge to members.  Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and indicate the number of posters your business will need.  Your request will be fulfilled by Colony-West Financial Insurance.  Contact George O'Hara at Colony-West at (714) 476-3934 with questions.

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California Southern Cities
333 W. Broadway St., Suite 101
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 426-8341

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